For over a year, we’ve used these emails to warn you about the coming Orphan Works amendment. Now it’s time to call it by its real name: This is not an “orphan works amendment.” An OW amendment would have applied to old work whose authors are hard to find. This proposal will apply to past, present and future work. It will be retroactive. It will interfere with working artists and commercial markets. It will nullify your exclusive rights to your work. It is the undoing of existing copyright law and it’s a challenge to the rest of the world to follow. If you’ve never cared about copyright law before, this is the time to start.
The madcap rush to ram a bill through Congress suggests that there are special interests who want to get it on the books before it can be exposed for what it is. These special interests are still not happy with the Copyright Office’s proposal. They want no penalties for infringement or a cap no higher than $200. These groups are well-funded, well staffed and they’ll be lobbying full-time to get what they want. Congress has warned us that very little is negotiable, but this is not the time to lie down and die. Last Wednesday, the IPA filed written testimony with the House Judiciary Subcommittee. We’ll email you the text of that testimony tomorrow.
– Brad Holland, for the Board of the Illustrators’ Partnership
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